Peter Davison is an indefatigable literary sleuth who, beginning in his mid-50s, devoted 35 years to revealing the unvarnished George Orwell, including curating, editing, and annotating 20 volumes of the author’s complete works.
He was born on September 10, 1926, in Newcastle upon Tyne, in northeast England. His father, Thomas, was a master mariner who contracted tuberculosis and pleurisy and died when Peter was 7. His mother, Doris Davison, was said to have been the first woman hired as a stage manager in London’s West End.
Orwell Scholar on Monumental Scale, Peter Davison, passed away at 95
A super scholarly sleuth who devoted 35 years to editing 30 volumes of the author’s books, essays, letters, diaries, and manuscripts, Peter Davison, passed away at the age of 95.
Peter Davison, immersed himself in the works and papers of George Orwell. His 20-volume “ The Complete Works of George Orwell” was called a “national treasure” by the Davison Family.
His death, in a hospital, was announced by The Orwell Society. The cause of his death is still not disclosed.
Peter Davison’s Career and Education
Peter was sent to boarding school when he was 6, dropped out when he was 15, volunteered for the Home Guard during the war, and was drafted into the Royal Navy in 1944. He also served as a radio mechanic in Singapore between jobs in the cutting room of the Crown Film Unit at Pinewood Studios, which was making propaganda movies in support of the war effort, and at MGM, where he worked on a film starring 16 years old Elizabeth Taylor.
He edited a railway magazine and worked for the International Wool Secretariat, an industry group while resuming his education through correspondence courses for a bachelor’s degree and master’s in bibliography and paleography. Peter also taught at various universities like St. David’s University College, The University of Kent, and De Montfort University.
Peter Davison’s Marital Life
In 1949, he married Sheila Bethel, with whom he would collaborate on Orwell’s “Collected Journalism, Essays and Letters.” His wife died in 2017. He is survived by three sons, John, Simon, and Hugh; seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Peter Davison’s Honors and Publications
In 2003, Professor Davison was awarded the Gold Medal of the Bibliography society.
He has published and edited many works. Some of his works are The Lost Orwell (2006), Orwell’s Diaries (2009), George Orwell: A Life in Letters (2013), and Seeing Things As They Are (2014).